The REDress project is returning for the second time to SAIT this November in hopes of raising awareness for the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls across Canada.
“I saw a documentary [about the project] on CBC, and I came into work the next day and said, this is something I have to take on,” said Jean Dube, an aboriginal student advisor at SAIT.
After Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government launched a two-year, $53 million national inquiry last August into the violence against indigenous women and girls, Dube said this is the perfect time to make a difference.
“We want to make this a big enough event that other post-secondary schools in Alberta take notice and start doing the same thing,” said Dube.
Jaime Black, a Metis artist based in Winnipeg, started the project in 2011 in hopes of bringing more attention to the violence against aboriginal women and girls in Canada, especially the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Statistics Canada reports from 2014 show that out of the 6,849 women who were murdered in the past 30 years, 1,073 of them were of aboriginal descent.
The number of murdered indigenous women jumped from 14 per cent in 1990 to 21 per cent in 2014.
The red dresses are set up in public spaces, such as SAIT, to represent the indigenous women and girls who have been murdered or are missing.
Dube said they are still in need of red dress donations for the display, which can be dropped off at Chinook Lodge where a donation box has been set up. All dress donations will be kept and re-used the next year.
The red dresses, along with posters showcasing facts on violence against indigenous women and pictures of missing and murdered women, will be set up on Nov. 26 around the SAIT campus.
As part of the campaign there will be a lunch and learn on Dec. 6 in the Stan Grad Centre from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. featuring guest speaker Cindy Provost.
Provost is originally from the Piikani reserve, 61 km. west of Lethbridge.
She has worked with the Calgary police for 18 years and has been the aboriginal liaison officer for 10 years.
Dube is encouraging everyone and anyone to come out to eat, listen and learn.